Day three of Star Wars Celebration Chicago kicked off with a panel about the Galaxy’s Edge attractions Disneyland and Disney World are preparing for launch later this summer. Hosted by a geeked-out Josh Gad, the presentation was about as high on branding and corporate partnerships as one might expect—one of the big reveals was that Coca-Cola will sell soft drinks in Star Wars packaging at Galaxy’s Edge, and a good chunk of the presentation focused on the stuff you can buy at the Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities gift shop, “high-end collectibles” pulled from all aspects of Star Wars lore for which you have to barter with the animatronic Dok-Ondar himself. (We’re sure he’ll take major credit cards.)
Much of the presentation touched on information that’s already out there: There were details about the park’s two main rides, Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run and Rise Of The Resistance, that were described in our sister publication i09's early look at Galaxy’s Edge. One interesting, additional detail of the Millennium Falcon ride in particular that was revealed at the panel is that when guests leave the ride, the condition of the Falcon will reflect their trip. Good run? The hallway leading from the cockpit will look the same going out as it did coming in. Rough ride? That hallway will have broken lights, alarms sounding, etc.
The main points repeated by the various Imagineers and Lucasfilm story experts on the panel, including Lucasfilm VP Doug Chiang and Disney Imagineering executive Scott Trowbridge, were authenticity and immersion, both of which Chiang stressed were “tak[en] to extremes” for Galaxy’s Edge. The idea of grit was also invoked, as well as promises of a multi-sensory experience that includes smells (“space meat” which sounds a lot like gyro meat roasting on spikes at the center of the Moroccan-inspired market) and tastes (again, you can get drunk on blue milk).
Voice work from Paul Reubens as Star Tours pilot-turned cantina DJ R-3X, Frank Oz as Yoda, Kipsang Rotich as Nien Nub, and Jim Cummings as Hondo Ohnaka, who makes his “live action” debut in animatronic form at the entrance to Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run, was also teased. But the most interesting part of the panel, at least for us, was the segment about the music that’ll be played at Disney’s cantinas, which included a snippet of new music from original cantina band Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes and a more club-style track from an unnamed “’droid band.” The former, if we can put on our jizz-jatz critics’ hats for a moment, sounds an awful lot like the Modal Nodes’ classic hit “Mad About Me;” whether John Williams, who wrote the original cantina music as well as a new orchestral theme for Galaxy’s Edge, composed these songs as well is unclear.
Galaxy’s Edge opens in California on May 31, and in Florida on August 29. Disney’s already started rolling out novels and comics incorporating the setting of Galaxy’s Edge, the town of Black Spire Outpost on the planet Batuu, into the larger Star Wars continuity.